Wondering where the best public beaches in Tulum to visit are? You’re not alone! Here’s the thing most of the fancy beach clubs and beach hotels in Tulum don’t want you to know… All beaches in Mexico are public. There are no private beaches in Mexico and it is illegal to block public access to the beach.
That said, in Tulum, they make it extremely difficult for the public to access the beach along the hotel zone, so it seems like the only way to get on the beach is to pay a lot of money to one of the beach clubs.
So, in this blog post, I’m going to share the best beaches in Tulum and give you some tips for getting on the beach without having to pay!
Just walk on through!
By far the easiest way to get onto the best public beaches in Tulum Mexico is to just walk on through the entrance to one of the beach clubs. If anyone asks you, tell them you are going for a drink. Then just keep on walking right on through to the other side. It normally works just fine. It’s actually a bit more tricky when you want to leave as they don’t like you to pass back through unless you really did by a drink!
Also, if you are planning on spending the day at the beach sometimes it’s worth going to one of the beach clubs in Tulum? Not all of them charge a small fortune, many of them you just have a minimum spend. The issue is many people only know the super expensive ones that want you to spend a minimum of $70 to use a sunbed! I wrote a whole blog post on the best beach clubs in Tulum you can read here.
A note on privilege…
I can’t write this post on the best beaches in Tulum Mexico and not mention that it is much easier for me (a white European woman) to access the beach than it is for a person of color, especially a Mexican (I.e. not a tourist). Why? Because most of the time I can simply just walk right on through the hotels and resorts acting like I belong there and 9 times out of 10 no one will question me. When I’ve tried to do this with my Mexican friends it’s always hit and miss if we get away with it or not.
The 6 best public beaches in Tulum
Ok let’s get down to it, where are the best beaches in Tulum?
For starters, the main beaches in Tulum are broken up into two sections. The North Tulum beaches, and the South Tulum beaches.
The north beaches in Tulum are less developed, and in my opinion more beautiful. They are better if you don’t want to shell out for a beach club. That said all of the beaches in Tulum are stunning and so it doesn’t really matter where you go as you can expect white sand and turquoise-colored waters.
Best Beach Tulum – Playa Paraíso
On the north side of the beach road. Playa Paraiso is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, not just in Tulum. It’s why they named it paradise beach after all! Public access is easy here and you will find plenty of places you can enter easily.
It’s also a very wide section of the beach so overcrowding isn;t so much of an issue here. If you prefer to rent a sun lounger and umbrella the cost is around $200 pesos for the day. There are also plenty of restaurants and vendors around if you need them.
Another beautiful Tulum beach on the northern side. This beach is the perfect one to visit if you are also visiting Tulum ruins as it’s right below the archeological site. Because it’s so close to the ruins it is a popular beach with tourists and it’s one many of the tours visit. So do get there early if you want to get a good spot to pitch your towel before the masses.
Slightly more secluded than Playa Paraiso with no restaurants or vendors it’s quieter here than the other beaches. If you want some peace and quiet and to escape the crowds this is the beach for you. There are facilities a short walk away on the other beaches, so if you do get hungry then you can always take a walk to the next Tulum beach along.
This is the best beach in Tulum Mexico if you want to eat the best ceviche in Tulum! You can find this beautiful beach just north of Playa Paraiso. It has dreamy views of the ruins and it’s also a good beach to take a snorkeling tour from. Tulum doesn’t have the best snorkeling. But if you book a tour then will take you out to the reef in a boat. Do make sure you ask around though and negotiate the price as if you don’t mind haggling with the vendors you can get a great deal.
South Playa is basically all of the Tulum beaches in the south of the hotel zone aka where all of the fancy hotels and beach clubs are. The beach is beautiful here. But it’s generally not as wide, it can be tricky to find the public access points and in all honesty if this is the part of the beach you want to visit you are better off visiting one of the beach clubs. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Many of them have a consummation minimum. So you have a minimum spend of around $300 pesos around $15 USD. For this, you can normally get lunch and a soft drink or 2. It also means you can lay on a sun lounger and have access to the restrooms. Take a look at this blog post on the best Tulum beach clubs for more info about my favorite ones.
If you don’t want to visit a beach club then you will need to look out for the public access points to get on the beach. They can be a bit hidden… or just walk through a hotel and tell them you are going to the beach club!
Secret Beach (Sian Ka’an)
Secret beach is actually just outside Tulum in Sian Ka’an Biosphere ( a protected area of natural beauty). And FYI you should 100% try and do a tour to Sian Ka’an if you have time, I went with Kay Tours and it was one of the best days, just watch this video below to see what it’s all about.
Anyway, Secret beach is the best beach in Tulum, Mexico if you want to get right off the beaten path. It’s tricky to get too. It’s going to be a long bike ride and if you drive be prepared for a bumpy ride as the road through Sian Ka’an is well known for being terrible. It often washes away in the rain! But wow, it’s worth it. Be sure to take your own supplies here with you though as this whole area is totally underdeveloped.
How to get to the beach in Tulum Mexico
Tulum is actually pretty spread out so if you are not staying in the beach hotel zone of Tulum then you will need to get yourself to the beach.
From Tulum town you need to take the main road to the beach, there is only one! It will take you down past the big supermarket. When you reach the end of the road you have two options. To get to the northern beach in Tulum you will need to go around the roundabout thing and turn left. Don’t be put off by the barrier, it’s a public road. If you want to go to the south Tulum beaches, you need to just follow the road around to the right.
The best options for transport are:
Bike– who doesn’t ride a bike in Tulum? It’s a nice flat ride to the beach from Tulum town and most of it is on a bike path.
Drive – Personally I always rent a car and drive in Tulum. I don’t really drink alcohol these days and find navigating Tulum much easier (and cheaper) in a car.
Parking can be pretty tight on the south side as the roads are narrow, but there is generally lots of parking. Personally, I normally try to find a space in an actual manned parking area as it feels a bit more secure. If you are visiting a beach club most of them have free parking. If not there is some on-road parking and car parks on the south side.
On the north side as it’s less built up and the roads are wider. It’s easier here to find free parking on the roads or there is a public car park close to Playa Pescadores.
Taxi – If you don’t want to bike or rent a car then I would recommend taking a taxi. The rates are fixed and the ride from Tulum town to Tulum beach will cost $80 pesos.
Colectivo – Another option is a local colectivo. Although to be honest I’ve never personally done this because they are pretty infrequent but if you see one you can flag it down. I think they stop at around 6 pm.
Walk – I honestly wouldn’t recommend this. It’s not a long or a hard walk, but there isn’t much shade and the sun is punishing. So I don’t recommend it purely because it’s just too hot and if you are planning on hanging at the beach all day that’s a lot of sun! If you do walk, coverup and bring plenty of water.
Beach Club, or Go it alone?
Personally, I normally go to a beach club as I like to spend the day there so having bathrooms, a sunbed, and food and drink available are important to me. If I’m just going to the beach for a couple of hours, then I go it alone.
If you don’t want to pay for food and drink then I’d advise you to stick to the northern beaches, they are less developed, public access is much easier and you will have more space as the beach clubs aren’t taking over half of the beach. If you do this just make sure you bring your own food and drink and a beach umbrella if you have one for some shade.
If you want more facilities and plan on buying food and drink, then it’s best to go to a beach club. Check out this post to find the best beach club for your budget.
Whichever Tulum beach you decide to go to, I hope you have a great day!
Need somewhere to stay in Tulum?
I wrote a whole post to help you decide the best area in Tulum to stay with my recommendations depending on your budget. I also wrote a guide to the top boutique hotels in Tulum, Where to stay in Tulum, and The Best Hostels in Tulum Mexico.
But if you are too lazy to read the full post, here are my top Airbnb picks!
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.